Kawasaki's Mike Fisher made no apology, though, saying, "We can tuck the pipe in, but we'd lose power. We wanted the power, and when Bubba Stewart rode the bike he said we should choose the power." The soft and low seat didn't bring the same response, though. "We are asking that the production bikes come with firmer foam," Fisher claimed, "But it won't be any taller."Firing the engine brings another pleasant surprise. There is very little vibration, and the powerplant doesn't even sound like a typical Kawasaki. The new cylinder has an exhaust valve angled up like the YZ125; and the valve is lighter, more responsive to rpm changes and seals better, so the engine has a definite snap and crack to the note. The motor on the new KX125 is very powerful with plenty of boost to pull the Washougal hills with ease. The motor is a little weak right off idle (a place the '02 was actually pretty good), but once you get the revs into the midrange, hold on! It hits hard in the middle, and novice riders got a bit sideway in turns until they got a handle on the hit. The bike rips through the mid and continues all the way to the top, where it pulls the distance. The power is clean and crisp and very usable. We had an entire Team Green semi loaded with technicians, and even riders, who changed jetting or gearing or returned it to stock. The bike ran crisp and clean and didn't sputter for even a second. This engine should be very competitive and make the KX a high-stakes player in Dirt Rider's 2003 shootout.